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Old 06-05-2018, 01:51 AM   #1
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Towín the Rockies

First time towing question. Debating on whether to tow our Chevy Equinox to the Rockies or not. My question is will the V-10 in our Vegas handle towing the Equinox up and down the Rockies terrain? Any tips for first time mountain driving, especially descents, would be greatly appreciated . Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:02 AM   #2
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Jerry - we've done the Rockies thing with our Challenger V10. No problems. Even on some the steepest grades - no problems. You just need to take your time and understand the power bands. Pulling the steep grades from Buffalo to Ten Sleep the grade seemed to gone on and on. Best power band was at about 4,000 RPMs. No problem.

Now the question of going down the grade. Make sure you have a good supplemental brake system and use the Tow/Haul mode. The grade down into Ten Sleep is as steep as the grade going up to the pass from Buffalo but with lots of switch backs. Take your time, don't ride the brakes, use Tow/Haul and oh yes - enjoy the view it is SPECTACULAR!!
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:34 AM   #3
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Jerry - we've done the Rockies thing with our Challenger V10. No problems. Even on some the steepest grades - no problems. You just need to take your time and understand the power bands. Pulling the steep grades from Buffalo to Ten Sleep the grade seemed to gone on and on. Best power band was at about 4,000 RPMs. No problem.

Now the question of going down the grade. Make sure you have a good supplemental brake system and use the Tow/Haul mode. The grade down into Ten Sleep is as steep as the grade going up to the pass from Buffalo but with lots of switch backs. Take your time, don't ride the brakes, use Tow/Haul and oh yes - enjoy the view it is SPECTACULAR!!


Thanks for the insight and tips bigben appreciate it.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:51 AM   #4
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what brake controller do you use?????
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:05 PM   #5
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First trip through the Rockies we were using Blue Ox Auto Stop. I now refer to the Auto Stop as Auto Junk. Just did not work well enough for us. So we went to the Brake Buddy Classic. Works well and has adjustable sensitivity.

PS: Heading back to the West Coast via Cody this week with 5 grandkids this time!!
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:34 PM   #6
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Jerry - we've done the Rockies thing with our Challenger V10. No problems. Even on some the steepest grades - no problems. You just need to take your time and understand the power bands. Pulling the steep grades from Buffalo to Ten Sleep the grade seemed to gone on and on. Best power band was at about 4,000 RPMs. No problem.

Now the question of going down the grade. Make sure you have a good supplemental brake system and use the Tow/Haul mode. The grade down into Ten Sleep is as steep as the grade going up to the pass from Buffalo but with lots of switch backs. Take your time, don't ride the brakes, use Tow/Haul and oh yes - enjoy the view it is SPECTACULAR!!

I'll 2nd BigBen's comments. I was pulling this in my 2013 RAM 2500 6.7L Cummins and 27' TT, but the concepts are the same. Steep grade up and down, use your transmission and any supplemental braking systems you have. Go slow, no need to rush this drive - you'll see the signs at the top of the hill to explain. And above all, ALWAYS, enjoy the scenery!
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:57 PM   #7
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In crossing the Rockies many times in different motorhomes, Iíve also found proper transmission gearing is key both up and down. The principle has been the same no matter the size or weight.

Going up a lower gear allows the same engine power to develop more climbing force at lower vehicle speeds. Thatís common knowledge to most drivers.

Going down is a lot more critical in my opinion, which is why I use brakes for stopping or momentarily slowing down, but never to limit speed on long descents. I think in terms of engine braking can only provide a certain amount of negative horsepower, so the slower I go in a lower gear the more braking force it can provide indefinitely (unlike brakes which will overheat and fail).

If motorhome gets going faster than I want, I use brakes if needed to slow down enough to engage a lower gear. If that lower gear doesnít provide enough engine braking to maintain my desired safe speed, I slow as needed again to engage an even lower gear. Eventually Iíve always found a gear that could hold speed without ever riding brakes.

I will admit I came close to losing it a long time ago descending on I-40 west of Flagstaff. I allowed myself to get going too fast for the vehicle and trailer because of fear that other traffic was moving way faster than us and that I may get hit from behind. I will never make that mistake again.
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:01 PM   #8
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In crossing the Rockies many times in different motorhomes, Iíve also found proper transmission gearing is key both up and down. The principle has been the same no matter the size or weight.

Going up a lower gear allows the same engine power to develop more climbing force at lower vehicle speeds. Thatís common knowledge to most drivers.

Going down is a lot more critical in my opinion, which is why I use brakes for stopping or momentarily slowing down, but never to limit speed on long descents. I think in terms of engine braking can only provide a certain amount of negative horsepower, so the slower I go in a lower gear the more braking force it can provide indefinitely (unlike brakes which will overheat and fail).

If motorhome gets going faster than I want, I use brakes if needed to slow down enough to engage a lower gear. If that lower gear doesnít provide enough engine braking to maintain my desired safe speed, I slow as needed again to engage an even lower gear. Eventually Iíve always found a gear that could hold speed without ever riding brakes.

I will admit I came close to losing it a long time ago descending on I-40 west of Flagstaff. I allowed myself to get going too fast for the vehicle and trailer because of fear that other traffic was moving way faster than us and that I may get hit from behind. I will never make that mistake again.
As a first time tow-er here, about what is a safe speed for descent?

I know, it's up to me, just trying to get an idea.
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:39 PM   #9
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Chance- are you saying I should use one of the lower gears when ascending other than Drive position?
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:56 PM   #10
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Chance- are you saying I should use one of the lower gears when ascending other than Drive position?
Most motorhomes wonít be able to climb steeper hills in top gear, so it will need to use a lower gear one way or another.

If you leave it in drive, the computer will choose a gear for you. That works pretty well most of the time.

I personally prefer to shift to a lower gear manually because I prefer to use a little more RPMs at lower torque to get the needed power. Thatís not always quite as fuel efficient, but I feel itís easier on engine.

The reason I donít always like the computer selecting gears for me is that Iím not usually in that big a hurry, and if I let up on throttle a bit to reduce power, the transmission will shift up automatically into a higher gear, defeating my wish to run at slightly less torque which is what I normally want. I donít like going up long climbs at full throttle.
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:12 PM   #11
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As a first time tow-er here, about what is a safe speed for descent?

I know, it's up to me, just trying to get an idea.
When descending, whether in a motorhome or bicycle, I tend to play it safe most of the time. I look down the road and estimate how fast I can go and still be able to stop if I suddenly see something on the road around the next curve, etc.

Completely straight descends are rare, and while you can go faster, I donít find them as dangerous. Iím more cautious and go much slower when there are blind curves because I canít know whatís ahead, so I go slow enough that I could stop if there is an animal on the road, or a wreck, etc. Keep in mind it takes a little more distance to stop going downhill than when road is level, even if brakes are completely cool.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jerry B. View Post
...will the V-10 in our Vegas handle towing the Equinox up and down the Rockies terrain? Any tips for first time mountain driving, especially descents...
I would only advise NO since you already have questions and concerns, especially with a smaller format Vegas. While it has 'power', whether that really will meet your definition of 'handling' is unknown, until you actually do it. I guess there's a fear that you won't 'make it' up the mountain... but generally folks do, even if it's at a much slower pace... but, why the rush anyway?

Descending can be an interesting time, too, as your brakes are really what you'll be concerned with, as well as the transmission downshifting. When you learn how to 'allow' the transmission to do it's job, though, you'll realize that it's not as daunting as it may seem...though, certainly, there are some areas to descend that cause pause for all of us...just take it easy, and don't be afraid to go 'slowly'! No one lost control because they were taking it easy and going slow.
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:13 AM   #13
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Jerry - I think you're kinda getting seeing a common theme here. Going up really is easier than going down. Going down - just pay attention to your speed at the top of the slope, in Tow/Haul mode using the brakes will generally have the coach downshift and finally the supplemental brake system for your toad will really ease the downhill drive.

Most important thing - enjoy the view it is simply SPECTACULAR!!
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:19 AM   #14
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Don't forget to put the engine/trans in "Tow/Haul" mode--tap the little button on the end of the shifter.

That changes the shift points of the trans so it holds lower gears longer and enables a pretty cool hill descent feature: tap the brakes and the trans will downshift.
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Old 06-06-2018, 02:25 PM   #15
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Don't forget to put the engine/trans in "Tow/Haul" mode--tap the little button on the end of the shifter.

That changes the shift points of the trans so it holds lower gears longer and enables a pretty cool hill descent feature: tap the brakes and the trans will downshift.
Ditto! One more thing....don't worry when that V10 revs cause it's gonna.
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Old 06-06-2018, 02:54 PM   #16
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.....cut..... Best power band was at about 4,000 RPMs. .....cut.....
Yes. Have you noticed the newest Ford power rating for the 3-valve V10 is 320 HP at only 3,900 RPMs?

The 2-valve engine in question here is now actually rated at higher RPMs for maximum power, not that itís much higher. Still close to 4,000.

By modern engine standards the V10 is going to deliver most of what itís got at fairly low RPMs. There is little to be gained by revving higher, and youíll avoid a lot of noise as a side benefit.
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:03 PM   #17
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Jerry, Been through the Rockies many times with both a 5th wheel and Motorhome, both diesel. Descending is the issue. One rule of thumb is to do not descend in a higher gear than you need to go up. You've got plenty of time, no matter what the folks behind you may think. Just gear it down and maintain control. Only place where I have needed to get into 2nd gear was from Sheridan Wy to Cody Wy. Even thought about 1st gear for a time. Believe it was called Granite Pass. MUST have a brake controller and it's even required by law. Take your time and enjoy the trip.
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Old 06-10-2018, 12:49 PM   #18
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Look for the Tow/Haul button

Newer V10's are equipped with the new 6 speed transmission that has a Tow/Haul button on the shift lever. Use this button, and your transmission will shift more readily to a range that will help you handle the load in the mountains. Click image for larger version

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Old 06-10-2018, 01:14 PM   #19
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"Tow/Haul" will be your second-best friend: when it comes to descents...

(Right after your Toad's supplemental braking system!)
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Old 06-10-2018, 02:35 PM   #20
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That is where the Tow/Haul button has been for years. What is new, however, is the +/- rotator on the shifter there--presumably to let you select a gear..? Very nice.
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